‘Absolute tragedy’ of Eastbourne teen found dead

Eastbourne Town Hall
Eastbourne Town Hall

A coroner called the death of an 18-year-old Eastbourne woman an ‘absolute tragedy’ at an inquest yesterday (Thursday).

Described as ‘adventurous’ and a ‘bubbly character’ Lucie Watt was sadly found dead where she was living in Ceylon Place in April, the court at Eastbourne Town Hall heard.

The hospitality apprentice who had been working in the Duke of Devonshire pub was said in a statement by her mother to have sent texts to her family and friends saying she loved them before she died.

Her mother said, “Lucie was a bubbly character and was very adventurous. She was a bit of a daredevil and could be quite fiery at times and would tell you straight.”

She said her daughter had self harmed in the past – something she did not want to talk about to her mother.

The statement continued, “We had texts saying ‘I love you’ with a heart. She sent messages from her phone saying she loved everyone but would rather end it now.”

The inquest also heard from DC Daniel Thompson, who had examined Lucie’s phone after her death. He said he found a suicide message from the day of her death.

Lucie’s body was discovered by Bruce Humphries, of local letting agency Room 2 Let, who had been checking up on her after concerns from friends about a ‘worrying text’.

The coroner for East Sussex Alan Craze called the situation an ‘absolute tragedy’. He said, “It’s always a tragedy when someone at such a young age decides they can’t face going on with life.

“Why with all the future ahead of her did she decide to do this?

“The question arises as to whether she was suffering some form of depression.

“It’s sad that if she was suffering she didn’t feel able to seek help, either by going to a doctor or by going to friends and family.

“A case like this is always very sad if we are not certain as to why it’s taken place.

“There’s always going to be some questions left unanswered and I’m afraid this is one of them.

“Taking to account what was on her phone I’m not left in any doubt she wanted to bring her life to an end.

“Please accept my condolences.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, the Samaritans may be able to help – the charity’s helpline number is 116 123.

• Editor’s note: There is no issue more sensitive than reporting on the tragic death of a young person. We take that responsibility incredibly seriously.

Whenever there is a sudden or unexplained death there is a legal requirement for an inquest to be held under the authority of a coroner and sometimes with a jury. This ensures that the cause of death and the reasons leading to it are fully understood and that any lessons and warnings are learned and shared.

Inquests are normally held in public and the local press has a responsibility to attend, as the public’s representative, and to report an accurate summary of what was said.

It is our practice for all inquest reports to be checked by a senior editorial manager prior to publication. This is to ensure that no details have been included that might lead to copycat deaths and to check that the Samaritans details are printed at the end of the story. Our reports adhere to the requirements of the Editors’ Code of Practice and meet the standards demanded by our independent regulator IPSO.

We know that inquest reports can be upsetting but they are part of a legal and publicly accountable process that ensures that no sudden or unexplained death can be ignored.

We do not add any details to the report that were not given formally at the public inquest. However, if a family member or friend would like to pay a tribute to Lucie, we can be contacted on eastbourne.herald@jpress.co.uk